Category: Developing Children

Providing a Home for Youth at Sarah’s Place

Porter-Leath’s Sarah’s Place is a residential facility on Manassas Street, which has space available for youth who need a safe and nurturing environment to live away from home. Sarah’s Place is operated by clinical staff 24-hours a day and focuses on providing trauma informed support to both youth and their families. Tony Jackson, Jr. is a case manager for Residential Services who sees his role as an opportunity to ‘fill the gap’ for youth at Sarah’s Place.... Read More

Porter-Leath teacher coaching program aims to professionalize early childhood education

This story was originally published by Chalkbeat. Sign up for their newsletters at Samantha West, Chalkbeat Tennessee Dec 15, 6:00am EST   Clarissa Odom had her hands — and lap — full when a visitor stopped into her preschool classroom. Odom, a new infants teacher at a Porter-Leath center in Orange Mound, sat cross-legged on a colorful rug, bouncing two finicky babies looking for snuggles, one on each knee. At the same time, she tried to comfort a... Read More
at Thursday, December 15, 2022

Growing in Language and Literacy

Did you know that conversational turns are powerful? Conversational turns are simple back-and-forth alternations between a child and an adult. A turn has occurred when an adult speaks and a child follows, or vice versa, with no more than five seconds in between. Through Porter-Leath’s Teacher Excellence Program, early childhood educators across Memphis are learning about the daily impact of these conversational turns on the brain structure/function and socioemotional development of chil... Read More

Screenings Provide Baseline for Learning Success

Porter-Leath values providing the earliest intervention for the children and families we serve. One way our staff fulfills this value is by offering all students connected to Porter-Leath with a variety of health screenings. Lead by Stephanie Jones, Porter-Leath’s Health Services Manager, the initial screenings take place at the beginning of the school year, most of which occur within 45-90 days from the first day of school. Jones’ team collaborates with fellow Porter-Leath staff ... Read More

Books from Birth Hosts “A Night Around the World”

While all Tennessee drivers must obtain a new license plate this year, many may be unaware a Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library license plate is available as an option for drivers. Simply search or ask for “Dollywood Foundation” when you purchase your speciality plate. A portion of the license plate sale is distributed to the local Imagination Library affiliate within the county chosen at the time of purchase. This means that over $15 of each Imagination Library plate purcha... Read More

Building New Partnerships Among Families and Community Resources

The Early Success Coalition at Porter-Leath is gearing up for the second cohort of the Memphis Parent Leadership Training Institute (PLTI) and all parents and caregivers in Shelby County are invited to apply! The Parent Leadership Training Institute is a free 20-week course designed to equip parents with the knowledge and skills to advocate for policies and practices that benefit children and families in Memphis. Parents participate in a retreat, attend a weekly 3 hour workshop, and complete ... Read More

AmeriCorps Member at Porter-Leath Reflects on Impact

Children need strong, consistent relationships with caring adults that help build confidence and life skills. They need Generations, the home for AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Senior volunteers at Porter-Leath. Generations helps to fill the gap, bringing children in need together with adults in a mutually-beneficial service experience. AmeriCorps is not just a volunteer program, it is a program full of opportunities. This fact was especially true for Jasmine Joyner. As an AmeriCorps membe... Read More

Porter-Leath Cornerstone Celebrates Blue Ribbon Status

Porter-Leath’s Cornerstone Program provides home visitation services and resources through affiliation with the national Parents As Teachers home visiting model, which promotes the optimal early development, learning, and health of children by supporting and engaging their parents and caregivers. In Porter-Leath Cornerstone services can be offered prenatally until children enter kindergarten. Porter-Leath Cornerstone operates in both Shelby and Fayette Counties and the 10 certified par... Read More

Porter-Leath Introduces Living Wage Initiative for All Employees

Three years ago, Porter-Leath undertook a top-to-bottom review of existing and potential programs designed to attract and retain top talent. One key initiative that was important to Porter-Leath’s Board and Senior Staff was to implement a living wage program that ensured all employees made an hourly pay rate of $15 or more with benefits. Because grants and contracts that Porter-Leath relies on do not rise significantly year over year, careful planning and incremental steps had to be ta... Read More
at Friday, September 16, 2022

Porter-Leath Welcomes New NEXT Memphis Director

NEXT Memphis, an initiative of Porter-Leath, announces its new director, Alicia Norman. Norman has worked in early childhood education for over 25 years. She was Principal of Perea Preschool and Executive Director of Perea Elementary School, where Norman helped create a unique, nationally-acclaimed school model that focused on multiple facets of a child’s intelligence. She most recently served as a PreK Site Director for Memphis-Shelby County Schools. “My mission in education i... Read More

Porter-Leath Preschool Job Fair on July 16th

Porter-Leath to Host Preschool Job Fair WHAT: Porter-Leath Preschool Job Fair. The organization is now seeking Preschool teachers and teaching assistants to provide high-quality education and support services for all five preschool locations. Candidates should arrive in business casual attire, bring a resumé, and be prepared for an onsite interview should they qualify for a position. These are 12-month positions with a special need for infant/toddler teacher and teaching assistants.... Read More

Early Head Start Job Fair - July 13th

Porter-Leath to Host a Job Fair for Early Head Start Program To fast track your hiring experience, complete this ONLINE APPLICATION prior to the event. Porter-Leath host a Job Fair for Early Head Start (EHS) on Wednesday, July 13th, from 4 p.m. - 7 p.m. at the Porter-Leath Early Childhood Center | Range Line at 3274 Range Line Road. Current Early Head Start openings include EHS teacher, floater, and substitute roles for 12-month positions. All open Porter-Leath positions are eligible for ... Read More

Porter-Leath’s Books from Birth Spring Luncheon Celebrates Early Literacy in Shelby County with Teacher, Teacher

Porter-Leath is announcing their annual Books from Birth spring luncheon, presented by International Paper. The event will take place on Thursday, May 5 beginning at 12:00 PM (doors open at 11:30 AM), at the FedEx Event Center at Shelby Farms. This year’s special guest speaker is Felicia Peat, WKNO's Teacher Teacher, and the luncheon will also be honoring the 2022 AC Wharton, Jr. Literacy Award winner, Karen Vogelsang. Purchase your tickets or whole tables at Read More

Porter-Leath & University of Memphis Early Childhood Academy at Orange Mound Celebrates Grand Opening

  On March 4th, The Porter-Leath & University of Memphis Early Childhood Academy at Orange Mound celebrated its grand opening. The Academy is a research-based educational facility which serves children ages 6 weeks to 5 years old, where care is most crucial and underprovided in Shelby County. At the grand opening event, representatives from both organizations recognized supporters and leadership that helped make the world-class facility a reality. With the help of some young... Read More
at Friday, March 4, 2022

NEXT Memphis Expands Reach in Shelby County

NEXT Memphis, an early childhood initiative housed at Porter-Leath, added a second cohort of twelve childcare centers that will participate in its shared services program model. The cohort will join a network of standout centers that will directly increase educational outcomes for children, family-level outcomes for parents, business viability, and overall childcare center quality. Participating centers are: Destination Education FingerTips Enrichment Center Memphis Childcare Academ... Read More

Porter-Leath’s Teacher Excellence Program Partners with the University of Notre Dame

Recently, Porter-Leath’s Teacher Excellence Program established a partnership with the University of Notre Dame’s Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities (LEO). LEO helps a cohort of service providers across the nation apply scientific evaluation methods to better understand and share effective poverty interventions with the goal of using research to positively impact people.The partnership matches top researchers with passionate leaders in the social service sector to condu... Read More

Porter-Leath Expands Access to High-Quality Preschool for All Families

Porter-Leath recently expanded its Early Childhood Education options for all families by offering a tuition option for preschool children ages birth to 5 years old. This newly added option operates parallel to the Agency’s publicly funded educational and social services through Early Head Start and First 8 Memphis. Porter-Leath accepts child care certificate from Tennessee’s Department of Human Services and also offers scholarships for families who may need assistance with tuition... Read More

Family Uses Instagram to Spread their Love for Early Literacy

Gerald Fanion IV age three years old LOVES books, often snuggling them as he sleeps each night. His mother, Dr. Sha Fanion, a former elementary school principal and current educational leadership coach, is passionate about literacy. Dr. Fanion read to Gerald in utero and she and her husband have not stopped reading to him since he was born! In fact, she immediately signed Gerald up to receive books from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library through Porter-Leath’s Books from Birth pro... Read More
at Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Porter-Leath Hiring Event - December 9th

Porter-Leath Hiring Event - December 9th at 2869 Park Avenue, Memphis, TN 38114 Porter-Leath is investing more in top talent than ever before! If you havn’t checked us out lately or are new to Porter-Leath, consider starting a great career serving children and families throughout Memphis and Shelby County. We offer: New, Higher Starting Pay Scales $1,500 Sign On Bonus Comprehensive Benefits Package Inclusive Work Culture Professional Development Programs Best-in-class... Read More
at Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Family Finds Support from Parent Educator During One of Life’s Most Difficult Times

  The bond between a parent educator and a caregiver is special. Ethel Gallaher first met Porter-Leath Parent Educator, Angela Lee, when she visited the house to meet with Mrs. Gallaher’s daughter, Sharonda Carruthers and two grandsons, D’Kylynn and DeLynn.  Sharonda enrolled her family into Porter-Leath Cornerstone in 2019 to help her two little boys prepare for Kindergarten. Cornerstone pairs caregivers with parent educators who use an evidence-based curriculum calle... Read More
at Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Porter-Leath Foster Grandparent Makes Impact through Time Spent Volunteering

“Listen to your teacher, and listen to  your parents. I love you all, and I’ll see you tomorrow!” This is how Maxine Nolan leaves her classroom of 22 children at John P. Freeman Optional School after every day. She is an AmeriCorps Seniors volunteer and spends her weekdays connecting with children and mentoring them to help build confidence and life skills.  Five years ago after retiring from a local hospital, Mrs. Nolan became an AmeriCorps Seniors volunteer thro... Read More
at Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Enrollment, Employment and Education Extravaganza

Porter-Leath will host a series of student and employee recruitment fairs: Sept. 21st - Porter-Leath Early Childhood Center | American Way 4207 American Way, Memphis, TN 38118 5:00 - 7:00 PM Sept. 27st - Benjamin L. Hooks Library 3030 Poplar Ave, Memphis, TN 38111 2:00 - 6:00 PM Oct. 8th - Porter-Leath Early Childhood Academy | Frayser 3060 Baskin, Memphis, TN 38127 3:00 - 7:00 PM Porter-Leath is seeking teachers, assistant teachers, and family service workers. Candidates will be eli... Read More
at Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Memphis Opportunity Scholarship Trust Announces Porter-Leath as Partner School

Memphis Opportunity Scholarship Trust (MOST) is announcing Porter-Leath as a partner school and a new option for future MOST scholarship students. Students who receive scholarships through MOST and graduate from Porter-Leath Preschool can carry the scholarship forward to their next school.  “Porter-Leath’s attentiveness to early childhood learning translates into their students going on to excel in Kindergarten through 12th grades. We are proud to add them to our fantastic ... Read More
at Monday, September 20, 2021

Porter-Leath Encourages Community to Foster Love this June

Porter-Leath is seeking foster parents who can provide safe and loving homes for children from unstable environments. Children qualify for foster care when they have been removed from their home due to neglect, abuse, homelessness or other challenges. Currently, there are over 8,800 children in Tennessee’s foster care system – 1,100 of which are here in Shelby County. Foster parents can help children maintain vital connections and often keep sibling groups together. The great... Read More
at Monday, June 14, 2021

A Commitment to Infant Mental Health

As the Early Success Coalition works to build the capacity of the early childhood workforce, a key priority is advancing the understanding of Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health through professional development for healthcare providers, early childhood educators, childcare providers and home visitors.  Infants and very young children are all too often left out of conversations around mental health, but early experiences and environments can affect emotional well-being across a lifes... Read More

Opening Soon: New Early Childhood Academy in Frayser

Porter-Leath to host virtual Grand Opening on March 26 MEMPHIS, Tennessee – Porter-Leath is proud to announce the upcoming opening of its newest Early Childhood Academy which will house preschool children ages six weeks to five and Porter-Leath’s Teacher Excellence Program. Made possible by community partners committed to high-quality early education for all Shelby County children regardless of ZIP code, the Early Childhood Academy in Frayser is a state-of-the-art preschool and t... Read More

Porter-Leath Expands Successful Cornerstone Program to Fayette County

Service supports young families with evidence-based Parents as Teachers (PAT) curriculum Porter-Leath is excited to announce that its Cornerstone program is now available to families in Fayette County. Using the evidence-based Parents as Teachers (PAT) curriculum, Cornerstone is an early childhood visitation program that works directly with prenatal mothers, as well as families with children from birth to age 5. Certified Parent Educators meet with caregivers and families twice a month to g... Read More
at Thursday, March 4, 2021

Early Success Coalition Connects Families with Community Resource Providers

The Early Success Coalition is a collective impact initiative housed at Porter-Leath that promotes shared, evidence-based practices proven to improve early childhood development and school readiness. (Visit to find out what resources your family could receive!) The Coalition partners with and promotes agencies and organizations in Shelby County, which provide essential services to families that lead to healthy births, safe and nurturing relationships, and positive education... Read More

Easy As 1, 2, 3: A parent’s perspective on what makes Porter-Leath special

Myrika Williford took her volunteer role on Porter-Leath’s Preschool Parent Council seriously. As a representative for Early Head Start, Myrika provided feedback from parents to the site manager and worked collaboratively with members of the council and Porter-Leath staff to make decisions that affect the Preschool Program.  She is also on a mission to educate parents on why it is important to volunteer in their child’s classroom and to recruit new families to enroll in... Read More

Brianna Stewart: A Books from Birth Graduate’s Perspective on Reading and Learning

The Stewart family readily admits that reading is just part of their routine. Like packing their lunches for the next day or placing their backpacks by the door, the Stewart girls know that they can count on choosing a book to read with their parents before bedtime. Ebonye Stewart shared that these brief times of connection is particularly helpful to her as she raises her oldest daughter, Brianna. “Reading is a time when we are actually able to sit down for a few minutes and bond as a f... Read More

Educating the Next Generation: AmeriCorps Member Gains Experience to use in Future Career

Makia Hampton aspires to be a therapist in a local school, so after finishing her bachelor’s degree at the University of Memphis, she looked for ways to gain experience working with children in an educational setting. “My ultimate goal is to some way, somehow prevent people from becoming statistics” she remarked and added that “getting assistance when you are young … can help people avoid risky behavior later in life.”  As a native Memphian, Mak... Read More

University of Memphis, Porter-Leath, RedZone to break ground in Orange Mound

The University of Memphis and Porter-Leath are partnering to launch a new, innovative Early Childhood Academy located alongside the Orange Mound neighborhood’s RedZone Ministries. The Academy is designed to help address a critical need for early childhood care in the Memphis community.  Construction and design plans are being finalized with the support of $15 million raised in private contributions. Groundbreaking is scheduled for November 11th. The partnership will provide a r... Read More
at Thursday, October 8, 2020

Little Engine Playhouse Visits Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tennessee – The Dollywood Little Engine Playhouse Tour, presented by Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, makes its next stop in Shelby County to area public libraries. Presented in partnership with Penguin Books, the Tour adapts Imagination Library books into 20-minute sing-along musicals for young children The Imagination Library is the flagship program of the Dollywood Foundation. The book gifting program mails free, high-quality books to children from birth until they... Read More

Preschool teacher facing trauma through the eyes of a 4-year olds

Preschool is a place where teachers facilitate learning through play, where young children are discovering the world around them, making friends without a care in the world. A place where most teachers have a background in early childhood or child development, training in early care best practices and anticipating preparing young children for higher learning.  Preschool teachers often expect children to show up with a clean slate ready to absorb information, but unfortunately, young chil... Read More

Porter-Leath launches NEXT Memphis for Child Care Partners

MEMPHIS, Tennessee – Porter-Leath recently announced the launch of NEXT Memphis, a new initiative to increase the number of high-quality child care centers by offering significant resources, training, and support to community child care providers. Porter-Leath will recruit the inaugural class of 10 providers in late January 2020. Over the next 3 years, NEXT Memphis will build a network of 40 providers, serving over 7,000 children and families. NEXT Memphis is a shared service program m... Read More
at Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Porter-Leath Given Two Community Awards for Work with Children

Porter-Leath was recently recognized with two awards for living out its mission of empowering children and families to live a healthy optimal and independent lifestyle. This September, Porter-Leath was recognized by the Child Advocacy Center with the James G. Hughes Community Advocate Award. This annual award is given to a person or organization whose efforts in Shelby County demonstrate a commitment to the safety and well-being of children. Porter-Leath was recognized for our commitm... Read More
Posted by Mary Braddock at Monday, September 23, 2019

Porter-Leath Announces the Construction of Three New Early Childhood Academies

Porter-Leath is thrilled to announce the construction of three additional Early Childhood Academies over the next three years! By building world-class facilities in Memphis’ highest need neighborhoods, we are living our promise to help provide the very best early childhood experience to every child, regardless of zip code or income. We look forward to engaging the parents and stakeholders in each neighborhood in ways to continue improving early childhood education equity and q... Read More
Posted by Mary Braddock at Friday, August 16, 2019